Kurdish Teacher Facing Execution Based on “Zero Evidence”
(20 March 2008) The prosecution and sentencing to death of a Kurdish teacher in Iran are based on “absolutely zero evidence,” according to his lawyer.
The Revolutionary Court prosecuted Farzad Kamangar (32), a teacher and social worker in the city of Kamyaran, on charges of membership in the Kurdish Workers Party (PKK). The court issued a death sentence for Kamangar on February 25, 2008.“Kamangar’s prosecution is an absolute miscarriage of justice. This sentence is issued with complete disregard for minimum standards of due process. It is akin to an extrajudicial execution,” the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran said.
Khalil Bahramian, Kamangar’s lawyer, said: “Nothing in Kamangar’s judicial files and records demonstrates any links to the charges brought against him.”
Bahramian, who was present during the closed-door court hearing, described it as “lasting no more than five minutes, with the Judge issuing his sentence without any explanation and then promptly leaving the room.” He added, “I have seen absolutely zero evidence presented against Kamangar. In my forty years of legal profession, I have never witnessed such a prosecution.”
Bahramian is appealing the death sentence. He believes, given the complete lack of evidence, that the Judiciary should cancel the sentence.
Security forces detained Kamangar in July 2006, shortly after he arrived in Tehran from Kamyaran. The authorities originally investigated him in relation to two people he rode with during his trip to Tehran.
Kamangar was cleared of all charges during the investigation process. It is not clear why the prosecution decided to put him on trial on charges of membership in P.K.K., given that it has presented no evidence. Bahramian said the prosecution and death sentence are an indication of “discrimination against Kurds” within the judicial system.
Since his arrest, the authorities held Kamangar in various prisons in Kermanshah, Sanandaj, and Tehran. In a letter written in Sanandaj prison in October 2007, Kamangar detailed his torture and ill-treatment. During visits by his family and lawyer, he also exhibited signs of torture.
The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran called on the Iranian Judiciary to immediately investigate and hold accountable the judge who issued his death sentence based on no evidence as well as interrogators and prison officials responsible for Kamangar’s torture.
“A judge who sends innocent people to the gallows without a shred of evidence should be removed from his post and prosecuted,” the Campaign said.